Seed Your Soul

If you search for your soul you won’t find it.

Search for anything — power, talent, time, romance, riches, God — they will elude you. Instead evoke them. Call them forth. In the case of your soul — recall it and then seed it. Uncover who you already are. Bring forth who and what you already possess.

Who you are at birth is given. There is no going after it. The path leads back and under and over and through as you birth yourself again and again to this already established fact.

True artistry is a pure kind of channeling and emerges from trials endured, from deep engagement, and from recall. Recall is remembering what you know. Recall is deep listening. As soon as you know, you go. As soon as you learn how to let go, you find.

What comes effortlessly to us has significantly less meaning than what comes with effort. This is true of a lot in life and in the arts too. We see it in raw talent that doesn’t come close to realizing its potential, or in the effort expended in the name of talent without any real investment in self.

It is not a given that a performer will display their interior life. They put up a flag that points to it but their work does not come from the riches they hold, and so the performance feels needy, grasping and flat.

You have to make the effort. The onus is on you — then it will have meaning for you. Then it will seed your creativity. You can learn technique in schools and workshops and from books and coaches all the live long day, but what will eventually come out of your throat, eye, hand and foot that is of any real resonance is that which flows from your own experience and from the integration of your life fully lived.

Talent seeded with courage and curiosity will always come to something. Messing around in the roots of ourselves, breaking up our entanglements and watering our ground will allow the old spent shoots to die off and the new ones to come through. The elation, satisfaction, confusion, anger, sadness, doubt and ennui that this probing and examined living engender are what it means to be human. And they are the essential ingredients and fodder for our craft.

Something old is constantly dying in you and something new is taking its place. It takes guts to live and breathe from your depths and use the highs, the lows, and the illusive in-betweens of the performing life as fuel to get to the core of your artist heart. Happiness and suffering are equal and necessary parts of the drilling in, the sifting through the patterns, the confronting of demons and shadow play, the affirming of divine energies and illumination. Until you are accessing the whole of yourself, true art expression will not come forth.

So at regular intervals, stop. Stop and express right where you are. Produce something, say something, move someone. Yourself. Once this is played out in you, a new time of probing will set in. You will call it to you in some way — an event, person, triumph, struggle, illness, journey — some play with fire, some transformative agent. This will be followed by the gestation, by the new seed anchoring in the new ground.

And that’s how it goes — this tilling, planting, reaping, planting, tilling, reaping — throughout your life and career. You seed your soul to the end when, in having recalled your nature and shared the truth of who you are and what you know, you’ve connected others to the truth in themselves. That fuels the world. That is immortality.

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About Karen Kohler

Born in Frankfurt and raised in New York, Karen began her professional music career in Austin. Since returning to NYC in 2001, she has been a leading exponent of the cabaret arts as performer, director, producer and historian. Her performances blend multiple genres - classical, cabaret, jazz, blues and folk-rock - in six languages. She is founder of the award-winning ensemble, Kabarett Kollektif, and producer of Kabarett Fete, a celebrated international cabaret festival. Karen gives private lessons and conducts master classes in stagecraft, the art of public speaking and creativity coaching. View all posts by Karen Kohler

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